Flash Mob Church

My friend Wendy sent me this video of a group of singers from a church who orchestrated a flash mob singing of Christmas carols at a shopping mall.  It’s interesting to see the reactions of the crowd; you can’t tell for sure which people are part of the choir and which are bystanders.  While the act might have been offensive to a few, it clearly touched others.   There are probably a lot of people who don’t go to church on Christmas, but who still feel some connection to the ancient story of Christ’s birth.  The flash mob brought a holy moment into a secular setting.

A wise colleague reminded me this week that Christ is not only the Lord of the Church, but also the Lord of the World.  We have so carefully contained our version of “Christ” in our churches that we are hard pressed to recognize or acknowledge his presence anywhere else.

Those of us who struggle with how to maintain our beautiful church buildings may want to reflect on what shape our religious practice might take if we had to practice it out in the world, “in front of God and everybody”.  I wonder what it would feel like  if we had to gather for Communion in restaurants, or meet at the beach for baptisms, or sing hymns in the mall.  Would it change the way we experience our rituals?  Would it change the way the “bystander”  experienced us?

How is your church visible when you are not in your building?  And is it possible that your church might continue to be visible even if some day you don’t have a building anymore?

Thanks for the inspiration, Wendy!

2 responses to “Flash Mob Church

  1. As usual, Gail, this is right on. I have been trying for years to get this church to seriously ask this question of themselves, and to use some imagination in coming up with answers. However, as old practices and traditions fade or are replaced, attachment to the building, the place, only gets stronger, and they can’t imagine themselves anywhere else. Even the most accepting and liberal folks have a hard time understanding “church” without this building. The walls of this building trap them and hold them in. That provides a (false) sense of security.
    While there are those willing to take a “baby step” into moving outside, there is always a hasty retreat back to the familiar and safe. I am not sure that anyone will be able to address this, let along change it in time.
    I asked Dr. Tony Jones if it was possible for an existing congregation to transition to an “emerging” church. He was extremely doubtful. I fear he is right.
    Thank you for this reflection.

  2. Maybe if we learn to think of ourselves as having an “umbilical cord” that keeps us connected to the Mother Church, we can venture out in baby steps, Wayne. Keep nudging them. And move out ahead of them. It isn’t only that the world needs us; it’s also that we need the world and all it has to offer. God is out there!

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